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Chiropractic Research Review

C6-C7 Degeneration Linked to Cervical Pain

Degeneration in the cervical spine occurs as patients get older, even if they have no initial symptoms. Research has not established whether pain is more likely to develop in relation to those with degeneration, however.

The author of this study determined the association between cervical pain and degeneration shown on roentgenographic findings over a 10-year time period.

Initial lateral roentgenograms were taken and cervical lordosis was measured in 200 asymptomatic subjects (half men, half women). Ten years later, 159 of the participants were included in a follow-up involving additional roentgenograms and a pain questionnaire.

Results: Subjects who developed degenerative changes at C6-C7 were four times more likely than their peers to suffer cervical pain; those with degeneration at one level were likely to have it at the other. Pain developed in 15% of the follow-up participants, and there was an increase in subluxations and degenerative changes overall, as the author suspected. The average age of those with degenerative changes was 52 years.

The author concludes, "Intuitively, most clinicians believe that there is a connection between degenerative changes and symptoms; however, establishing that as a fact has been frustratingly elusive."

Gore DR. Roentgenographic findings in the cervical spine in asymptomatic persons: A ten-year follow-up. Spine 2001:26(22), pp. 2463-2466.

Chiropractic Research Review

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